Continuing a leadership legacy

Blue concrete wall textures for background - Vintage Film Filter

By Adrienne Jacobson, Chairperson, Cape SAJBD

I’m honoured to take up the baton of leadership for this term at the Board, and for the challenge and responsibility to our community that comes with it. 

Together with the executive committee, director, professional team and lay leadership, we have a wonderful energy around the table and are looking forward to a meaningful and growth-filled term. 

By way of professional introduction, I’m a counselling psychologist in private practice focusing on family and relationship, couple and individual therapy, and I also have a background in Organisational Psychology, consulting in leadership development, training, group process and organisational strategy. 

The outstanding leadership of our past two chairpersons has allowed me to build my vision for this coming term. Simply put, I’d like us to make a difference and to deepen the work we do at the Cape SAJBD on three levels.

Firstly, within the organisation, to ensure our lay leadership around the table have a meaningful, productive and growth-filled term, where we get to engage, participate and give of our skills and talents in subcommittees, projects and events that make a difference, together with our outstanding director and professional team.

Secondly, that we make a difference according to our internal mandate — a deepening of our relationships and work with our affiliate organisations. Not just support in the issues that face us, but collaborative projects whose success strengthens all of our mandates. To see a thriving community engaged in all aspects of Jewish life across our diverse spectrum.

Thirdly, to strengthen our external mandate. Creating platforms of engagement, stakeholder and political networking to fight antisemitism, lobby for civil rights and contribute to the Western Cape community. It is our responsibility to stand up against prejudice, discrimination, hate and gender-based violence, not just in our community but wherever we may encounter it. 

Post-Covid we have a community that has been through a stressful time of isolation and economic hardship. We’re living in an environment of loadshedding, crime, unemployment, homelessness and gender-based violence. We’re fighting over scarcity of resources. Anger, racism and prejudice is boiling over along with hopelessness and depression. 

The deep leadership question is: How do we, with our Jewish values, leadership, ethics and moral compass steer our community through these murky waters; and how do we contribute as a community to the broader South Africa?

The challenge for our community during these turbulent times is to rebuild a strong, proudly Jewish, engaged and thriving community where shuls and youth movements are filling up, and we can find the points of connection to include and engage people across a diverse spectrum of our community in all aspects of Jewish life. 

As we start our new term, I borrow two blessings.

The first, as we start a new seven-year cycle of agriculture and planting in Israel after the last rest period (shemita) has come to an end: may the projects, goals and efforts that we start now bear fruit for the next seven years. 

The second, from parshat Korach on community issues: may we be blessed with robust debate in abundance around our Board table. That our debates should be only to serve the nation and not over money or riches and thus considered L’shem le shamayim, altruistic or holy. 

I also bless the positions of leadership and responsibility to our community that we hold, that we have kaiyach and passion for the task ahead, that we leave our titles and egos at the door, that we show up to do good in our community, and that together we make a difference.

Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies website: www.capesajbd.org, Instagram, and Facebook page.


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